Knowledge for a sustainable world

Authors: Heather McAvoy-Marshall, Philip C Stevenson

Phil Stevenson, Professor of Plant Chemistry at the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich will be giving his Inaugural Professorial Lecture 'Sex and Drugs and Pest Control: The Ecology and Application of Plant Chemistry' on Wednesday, 11 June 2014. All are welcome.

Phil will be describing how an understanding of the ecological role of plant chemicals can help us improve pest management, optimise pollination and even enhance ecosystems.

Phil obtained his BSc studying Applied Biology at Brunel University in 1988 and was awarded a PhD on Resistance Mechanisms in Arachis spp. to the Tobacco armyworm Spodoptera litura from the University of London in 1992. His research has since focused on the biological and ecological role of plant chemicals for applications to benefit agricultural development.

His work has been published in 100 international journal articles, books and books chapters including recent papers in Science, PLoS One, and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Phil is the principal investigator or co-PI on several research grants and consultancies including: BBSRC, McKnight Foundation, European Union (African Caribbean and Pacific Science and Technology programmes), and the United States Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation (USA).

In this lecture Phil will be answering the question of whether plant chemistry could help to increase global food security.

Plants are extraordinary chemists synthesising over 50,000 amazingly diverse structures. Many are unique to a species or genus while more are yet to be discovered.

Our relationship with plant chemicals is historic: from opium-eating Neolithic man to many of today's medicines. But for the plant, many chemicals are adaptations to a sedentary life fighting off herbivores and disease.

Phil will also look at how some plants use chemicals to mediate pollinator behaviour to achieve more effective pollination.


Event information
Time: Lecture begins at 6.00pm, tea and coffee will be served from 5.30pm.
Venue: PK008, Pilkington Lecture Theatre, Medway Campus.

The lecture will be followed by refreshments, during which time Professor Stevenson will be available to discuss his work.

To book a place please contact: Heather McAvoy-Marshall, extension 3911 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Closing date for booking: Wednesday, 05 June 2014.

For further information, please download the supporting brochure of the lecture HERE